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TAA Appoints Julia Forsthuber Head Of TAA Medical Assistance

TAA is delighted to announce the appointment of Julia Forsthuber as its new head of TAA Medical Assistance.

Ms Forsthuber, who joined the company in February 2016, will oversee TAA’s provision of selected medical assistance services in the Alpine region. Ms Forsthuber is an industry expert, having managed operations and human resources at one of Austria’s leading assistance companies for over 15 years. Her addition to TAA ensures that the highest levels of medical assistance services are maintained for our clients.

"My vision is that TAA Medical Assistance becomes a single point of contact for a comprehensive range of personalized medical assistance services in the Alpine region. I am excited to join the TAA team and look forward to further improving service levels for our clients and to an expansion of new business activities” said Ms Forsthuber.

TAA Medical Assistance is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to deal with client requests and enquiries.

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Safety More Important Than Affordability For British Holidaymakers

According to new research by travel deals company Travelzoo, the British have changed their travel habits in 2016.

The study suggests the majority of British people (82%) are still planning to go on one or more holidays this year(1). However, more than two thirds (71%) are now choosing where to go based on how safe they feel the destination is. In fact safety has become the most important factor in travel decisions, ahead of the affordability (52%) and good weather (42%).

Louise Hodges, European Head of Communications at Travelzoo, said, “It’s great to see there’s still an incredibly strong appetite for summer holidays amongst the British public, for both European and longer-haul destinations. The research, however, does echo what our partners in the travel industry have been telling us: although many Britons are still planning to get away this summer, they are now opting for what they perceive to be safe travel destinations, rather than simply chasing the sun, and this in turn is having a direct impact on the countries they are travelling to.”

The UK (27%) has been revealed as the most popular choice of destination for 2016, beating Spain (21%) into second place, and France (10%) into third. The USA and Italy are in equal fourth place, while the top 10 also includes long-haul destinations such as Canada, Australia and the Caribbean (see list of top 10 destinations below).

A number of respondents said their destination choice was impacted by existing travel restrictions – 11% of respondents said if bans to Sharm el Sheikh or Tunisia were lifted they’d travel there immediately, while overall 43% would be willing to travel there at some point in the near future.

Hodges commented, “Despite the attempts of terrorists to disrupt our daily lives it’s great to see the great British public still insisting on their summer holiday. Of course the situation has meant that safety considerations are impacting destination choices and this is affecting prices and availability.”

“Prices are higher to the Western Mediterranean than previous years and availability is undoubtedly lower - as we predicted earlier in the year many holidays there have already sold out. I have spoken with some UK suppliers who have had hotel stock withdrawn by Spanish hoteliers holding out for higher rates. At the other end some of the best deals we have ever seen can be had to Egypt, Morocco and Turkey for those determined not to have their holiday choices disrupted.”

The countries British people have booked or are planning to visit for their main summer holiday in 2016 are:

  • UK (27%)
  • Spain (21%)
  • France (10%)
  • USA (8%)
  • Italy (8%)
  • Greece (7%)
  • Canada (5%)
  • Germany (5%)
  • Portugal (5%)
  • Australia (4%)
  • Caribbean (4%)
  • Cyprus (4%)

 

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Apollo Hospitals Group, The Leading Healthcare Provider In India, Has Been Accredited As Preferred Provider Of International Assistance Group

International Assistance Group (IAG), the world’s largest alliance of independent assistance companies recently accredited Apollo Hospitals Group as Preferred Provider for all clients in need of emergency medical care in India.  

As India’s first corporate hospital, the Apollo Hospitals Group has a robust presence across the healthcare spectrum and has emerged as one of the foremost integrated healthcare providers in Asia.

Starting in 1983 with a 150-bed hospital, the Group now operates 9,200 beds across 64 hospitals and has the distinction of receiving the country’s first Joint Commission International (JCI) Accreditation in 2005 and this year the company has been accredited as Preferred Provider Hospital for International Assistance Group (IAG).

The Group’s legacy of ‘touching lives’ stems from the four pillars of their philosophy – excellence, expertise, empathy and innovation. It has touched the lives of over 45 million patients from 121 countries. This focus on quality has become one of the group’s strongest credentials. It is the one of the building blocks in the trust of Apollo brand.

“We are honored to count with five Apollo Hospitals (in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and New Delhi), which are now accredited as the IAG Preferred Providers in India. Over the past years we have seen an increase in tourism in India; in consequence our clients need medical services that adhere to the highest international standards. Apollo Hospitals has proven to be the healthcare system in India that our Partners can rely on,” mentioned Cécile Hermetz, General Manager, International Assistance Group.

Apollo has set up an International Patient Services Division to ensure that the experience of overseas patients is safe, comfortable and hassle-free. Apollo’s International Patient Services offer a host of additional services such as: airport pick-up & transportation, accommodation, direct admission arrangements, scheduling of appointments, language assistance, liaison services with insurance companies and travel related assistance.

The Group has dedicated Centers of Excellence for several key specialties. They are unique and state of the art facilities spread across several of the Apollo hospital location and each Centre of Excellence stands out as a citadel of quality.

Apollo considers as their prime responsibility to provide high quality clinical care to all patients, putting the patient at the core of their operations. The Group has developed robust quality standards, used expert diagnoses and treatment plans and enhanced infection and safety protocols to render patients the most appropriate treatment. Centers of Excellence include: Heart Institutes, Cancer Institutes, Spine Surgery, Institute of Neurosciences, Critical Care, Institute of Robotic Surgery, Institute of Orthopedics, Institutes of Transplant, Nephrology & Urology, Institutes of Gastroenterology, Institutes of Robotic Surgery, Preventive Medicine, and Institute of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Technology driven

At Apollo, healthcare systems leverage technology to build integrated healthcare delivery models, which facilitate seamless electronic medical records, hospital Information systems and telemedicine-based health outreach initiatives, for enhanced access to medical care.

Another critical manifestation of widespread technology has been the amazing advancement in medical equipment and Apollo has repeatedly pioneered the introduction of such innovations in India – Robotics, Cyberknife, Novalis TX, 320 Slice CT Scanner, TrueBeam, PET Suite, Proton Beam.

International Assistance Group is proud and pleased that its network of Partners is able to rely on the excellence of Apollo Hospitals, a pioneer of modern day emergency care in India.

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Heading For Cuba? Don't Forget Your Proof Of Health Insurance

Cuba-bound Canadian tourists are urged to update their travel insurance documents and, if necessary, re-evaluate their coverage in anticipation of a huge influx of American visitors burdening the Caribbean nation's emergency health care infrastructure this coming fall and winter season.

With the signing of an agreement granting scheduled commercial U.S. airlines up to 110 flights to Havana and nine other outlying airports each day, Canadians and other nationals can expect more competition and higher prices for all of Cuba's goods and services—including care in local hospitals and clinics.

The Cuban Tourist Board (CTB) in Toronto has re-affirmed to Ingle International that all visitors to Cuba must carry proof of health insurance that will cover them while in Cuba. This requirement will apply to Americans as it has to Canadians and other nationals since 2010, when the measure was first passed.  Should visitors lack such proof, they will be required to buy coverage from Cuban insurance companies situated at or close by the various ports of entry.*

RELATED: VISIT TRAVEL WARNING NETWORK BY IPMIM FOR MORE ON MANDATORY INSURANCE FOR TRAVEL TO CUBA, CLICK HERE.

RELATED: Cuba: Health Screening At Entry PortsRead Now

A representative of the CTB emphasized to Ingle that, although proof of Canadian provincial health insurance will meet the entry requirement, such insurance will not cover in-country emergency health care services or air ambulance repatriation, and the individual traveller would be responsible for fully paying billed charges before being allowed to leave Cuba.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) also warns that in most hospitals in Cuba guarantee of payment (or payment in cash) must be provided in advance; the agency also advises travellers to check with their insurance company for payment/reimbursement procedures. It also advises all travellers to Cuba to purchase travel insurance from Canadian companies before they leave Canada.

Robin Ingle, CEO of Ingle International, a company that handles international insurance products for most of Canada's major international travel insurers, cautions that hospital and clinic costs in Cuba can be quite high for tourists. Consequently, Canadians should purchase travel insurance that provides a suitable coverage level and doesn't require them to pay up front. This should save a lot of anxiety—and out-of-pocket costs.

"Each year, Canadians make over one million visits to Cuba, and most say they will definitely return. With the expected surge of U.S. travellers, the Cuban infrastructure might well be tested. We can only advise that Canadians have their travel documents in good order and be fully aware of what their travel insurance covers, as well as what it limits or excludes," says Ingle.

"You don't want to be stranded in Cuba or any other country facing demands for a medical bill that far exceeds your credit card limit. And if you have appropriate coverage from a major Canadian company, you won't have to go through the trouble of paying the hospital, clinic, or doctor up front and then seeking reimbursement once you get home," says Ingle.

He notes that Ingle International has worked with Asistur, Cuba's primary travel medical assistance company, for over twenty years. The two companies have developed a strong relationship during this time and have fine-tuned their approach to providing and coordinating assistance. Ingle works together with Asistur to transport people with emergency medical needs to appropriate facilities quickly, to monitor their care, and to facilitate payment requirements on behalf of their international insurance clients. 

* Travel insurance purchased in Cuba from private companies provides far lower benefit levels than those available under Canadian plans. Canadian travel insurance plans cover up to $10 million for medical expenses, including air repatriation home when medically necessary. Cuban insurance, available at various ports of entry for approximately $4.50 per day, covers up to $25,000 (USD) for accident/illness costs and $15,000 for repatriation—not enough cover an air ambulance trip from Cuba to Canada.

 

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UNWTO Confident In Egypt’s Tourism Recovery

UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, has expressed the Organizations’ full confidence in the recovery of tourism in Egypt during a recent visit to the country. On the occasion, Mr. Rifai met with Egypt’s President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, in the presence of the Egyptian Minister of Tourism, Hisham Zaazou. The President reiterated his full support to the tourism sector and its utmost determination in ensuring that Egypt is a safe, attractive and leading tourism destination saying “if tourism recovers, Egypt will recover”.

Meeting with Prime Minister Sherif Ismail Mohamed, Secretary-General discussed measures to accelerate the recovery of tourism to Egypt and praised the support being given to the sector. Both representatives welcomed the actions undertaken by Egypt to promote the highest political support for the sector, regain the confidence of source markets, enhance tourism safety and security and successfully integrate the sector into risk and emergency management structures, both at national and local levels.

“Egypt has undertaken strong initiatives in terms of communications with the competent authorities and public opinion in source markets on safety and security issues, unlocking the support of airlines and tour operators, incentivising demand and engaging key players in Egypt in these concerted efforts. I trust these actions will herald results in restoring confidence and accelerating the recovery of tourism to Egypt”, said Mr. Rifai.

Mr Rifai also met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sameh Hassan Shoukry, to discuss the cooperation between the Ministries of Tourism and Foreign Affairs and UNWTO, including Egypt’s chairmanship of the UNWTO Executive Council and the forthcoming UNWTO City Tourism Summit taking place in Egypt later this year.

The future of tourism in Egypt

Opening Egypt´s Tourism 2016 Conference ‘Planning for Growth’, Mr Rifai recalled that there is a strong pent up demand for tourism to Egypt, from source markets, both within and outside the region.

“We should never forget that Egypt is one of the world’s most remarkable tourism success stories. Over the last decade, the number of visitors to Egypt practically tripled and so did the exports generated by international tourism. Egypt is, and will continue to be, despite all challenges, a leading tourism destination.” 

Tourism is a critical contributor to Egypt’s GDP, employment, foreign currency earnings and investment. Mr. Rifai called upon the international community to support Egypt’s tourism saying that “supporting the recovery of tourism to Egypt is supporting the future of Egypt and that of its people; supporting tourism to Egypt is promoting peace and stability”.

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VIDEO: IATA Releases 2015 Safety Performance - No Fatal Jet Hull Losses

The 2015 global jet accident rate (measured in hull losses per 1 million flights) was 0.32, which was the equivalent of one major accident for every 3.1 million flights. This was not as good as the rate of 0.27 achieved in 2014 but a 30% improvement compared to the previous five-year rate (2010-2014) of 0.46 hull loss accidents per million jet flights.

There were four accidents resulting in passenger fatalities in 2015, all of which involved turboprop aircraft, with 136 fatalities. This compares with an average of 17.6 fatal accidents and 504 fatalities per year in the previous five-year period (2010-2014). The 2015 jet hull loss rate for members of IATA was 0.22 (one accident for every 4.5 million flights), which outperformed the global rate by 31% and which was in line with the five-year rate (2010-2014) of 0.21 per million flights but above the 0.12 hull loss rate achieved in 2014.

The loss of Germanwings 9525 (pilot suicide) and Metrojet 9268 (suspected terrorism) that resulted in the deaths of 374 passengers and crew are tragedies that occurred in 2015. They are not, however, included in the accident statistics as they are classified as deliberate acts of unlawful interference (i).

“2015 was another year of contrasts when it comes to aviation’s safety performance. In terms of the number of fatal accidents, it was an extraordinarily safe year. And the long-term trend data show us that flying is getting even safer. Yet we were all shocked and horrified by two deliberate acts--the destruction of Germanwings 9525 and Metrojet 9268. While there are no easy solutions to the mental health and security issues that were exposed in these tragedies, aviation continues to work to minimize the risk that such events will happen again,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO. 

2015 Safety by the numbers: 

    • More than 3.5 billion people flew safely on 37.6 million flights (31.4 million by jet, 6.2 million by turboprop)
    • 136 fatalities compared to 641 fatalities in 2014 and the five-year average of 504. Including those who lost their lives in Germanwings 9525 and Metrojet 9268, the 2015 figure was 510.
    • 68 accidents (all aircraft types), down from 77 in 2014 and the five-year average of 90 per year
    • Four fatal accidents (all aircraft types) versus 12 in 2014 and the five-year average of 17.6
    • 6% of all accidents were fatal, below the five-year average of 19.6%
    • 10 hull loss accidents involving jets compared to 8 in 2014 and the five-year average of 13 per year
    • Zero jet hull loss accidents involving passenger fatalities, down from three in 2014, and the five-year average of 6.4 per year.
    • Although there were no passenger fatalities on jet transports there were two accidents with jet aircraft which resulted in loss of life:

1. Eight fatalities on the ground resulted from a runway excursion in the DR Congo involving a freighter aircraft.
2. A passenger jet and a smaller jet conducting an air ambulance flight collided over Senegal. Damage to the passenger jet was moderate and there were no injuries to any on board. The wreckage of the air ambulance has not been located and is presumed lost with the deaths of all 7 persons on board.

  • Eight hull loss accidents involving turboprops of which four were fatal
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Air Freight Growth Slowed To 2.2% In 2015

Global air freight markets showing cargo volumes measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs) expanded 2.2% in 2015 compared to 2014. This was a slower pace of growth than the 5.0% growth recorded in 2014. The weakness reflects sluggish trade growth in Europe and Asia-Pacific.

After a strong start, air freight volumes began a decline that continued through 2015, until some improvements to world trade drove a modest pick-up late in the year. Cargo in Asia-Pacific, accounting for around 39% traffic, expanded by a moderate 2.3%. The key markets of Europe and North America, which between them comprise around 43% of total cargo traffic, were basically flat in 2015. Latin America suffered a steep decline (-6.0%) while the Middle East grew strongly, up 11.3%. Africa also saw modest growth of 1.2%. The freight load factor (FLF) was at times the lowest for some years, falling to an average 44.1% compared to 45.7% in 2014, driven down by weak demand and capacity expansion.

“2015 was another very difficult year for air cargo. Growth has slowed and revenue is falling. In 2011 air cargo revenue peaked at $67 billion. In 2016 we are not expecting revenue to exceed $51 billion. Efficiency gains are critical as the sector adjusts to shortening global supply chains and evermore competitive market conditions. We have to adjust to the ‘new normal’ of cargo growing in line with general rates of economic expansion. The industry is moving forward with an e-freight transformation that will modernize processes and improve the value proposition. The faster the industry can make that happen, the better,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

The industry’s key challenges will be discussed in detail at the World Cargo Symposium (WCS) in Berlin, 15-17 March. The world’s largest gathering of air cargo professionals, the 10th WCS will bring together 1,000 delegates under the theme of ‘The Value of Air Cargo’ to debate solutions for strengthening air cargo and the vital service it performs for the world economy.  
 
Dec 2015 vs. Dec 2014FTK GrowthAFTK GrowthFLF
International 0.7% 6.6% 47.4
Domestic 1.4% 6.2% 30.8
Total Market 0.8% 6.5% 43.9
YTD 2015 vs. YTD 2014FPK GrowthAFTK GrowthFLF
International 2.5% 6.4% 47.6
Domestic 0.1% 4.6% 29.6
Total Market 2.2% 6.1% 44.1

Regional Analysis in Detail

The global freight growth rate in December was 0.8% compared to December 2014. Within that range there were considerable regional fluctuations. 

African airlines FTKs declined by 8.4% in December although for 2015 as a whole the region grew by 1.2%. The FLF in 2015 was 29.7%, the lowest of any region. The underperformance of the Nigerian and South African economies was a challenge throughout the year, but trade growth to and from the region was sufficient to drive a modest expansion in FTKs.

Asia-Pacific carriers were basically flat in December, expanding just 0.1%. For the whole of 2015, the region grew 2.3%. The FLF for 2015 was 53.9%, the highest of any region. Cargo expansion in the region has been hampered by a shift in Chinese economic policy to favour domestic consumption. A mid-year fall of 8% in trade to/from emerging Asia also led to declines but this appears to have bottomed out, with a rebound in the second half of the year.

European airlines grew by 1.2% in December but the performance for 2015 in total was a fall of 0.1% compared to 2014. The FLF in 2015 was 44.9%. Economic conditions in the Eurozone have been subdued, leading to suppressed demand for air freight, but imports have improved in recent months.

Latin American carriers continued the weak performance of recent months, declining by 6.2% in December and by 6.0% for 2015 as a whole. This was the weakest performance of any region. The average FLF for 2015 was 38.3%. Economic and political conditions in Brazil have worsened, and regional trade activity has been volatile.

Middle Eastern carriers grew 4.0% in December and for 2015 in total the region expanded 11.3% compared to 2014. The FLF was 42.8% for 2015. The region enjoyed a strong year as network expansion into emerging markets was supported by economic growth in local economies. Political instability and the fall in the oil price may impact on some economies in the region but growth as a whole remains robust enough to support further expansion in 2016.

North American airlines saw FTKs expand 1.4% in December compared to December 2014. For the year as a whole, North America grew just 0.1%. The 2015 FLF was 34.3%. Growth in 2015 faded after a strong start that was flattered by the West Coast ports strike. Recently there have been mixed signals from economic data, indicating an uncertain outlook for air freight in the coming months.
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VIDEO: Demand For Air Travel In 2015 Surges To Strongest Result In 5 Years

Global passenger traffic results for 2015 shows demand rose 6.5% for the full year compared to 2014. This was the strongest result since the post-Global Financial Crisis rebound in 2010 and well above the 10-year average annual growth rate of 5.5%. While economic fundamentals were weaker in 2015 compared to 2014, passenger demand was boosted by lower airfares. After adjusting for distortions caused by the rise of the US dollar, global airfares last year were approximately 5% lower than in 2014.

“Last year’s very strong performance, against a weaker economic backdrop, confirms the strong demand for aviation connectivity. But even as the appetite for air travel increased, consumers benefitted from lower fares compared to 2014,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Annual capacity rose 5.6% last year, with the result that load factor climbed 0.6 percentage points to a record annual high of 80.3%. All regions experienced positive traffic growth in 2015. Carriers in the Asia-Pacific region accounted for one-third of the total annual increase in traffic.

Dec 2015 vs. Dec 2014RPK GrowthASK GrowthPLF
International 5.6% 5.9% 78.1
Domestic 5.1% 4.2% 79.9
Total Market 5.4% 5.3% 78.8
YTD 2015 vs. YTD 2014RPK GrowthASK GrowthPLF
International 6.5% 5.9% 79.7
Domestic 6.3% 5.2% 81.5
Total Market 6.5% 5.6% 80.3

International Passenger Markets

International passenger traffic rose 6.5% in 2015 compared to 2014. Capacity rose 5.9% and load factor rose 0.5 percentage points to 79.7%. All regions recorded year-over-year increases in demand.

  • Asia Pacific carriers recorded a demand increase of 8.2% compared to 2014, which was the largest increase among the three largest regions. Demand was stimulated by a 7.3% increase in the number of direct airport connections in the region, resulting in time-savings for travelers. Capacity rose 6.4%, pushing up load factor 1.3 percentage points to 78.2%.
  • European carriers’ international traffic climbed 5.0% in 2015. Capacity rose 3.8% and load factor increased 1.0 percentage point to 82.6%, highest among the regions. The healthy result in part was attributable to a pick-up in consumer spending in the Eurozone as well as a moderate increase in flight frequencies. Traffic growth slowed toward the end of the year owing to strikes at Lufthansa and the shutdown of Russia’s Transaero.
  • North American airlines saw demand rise 3.2% in 2015, broadly unchanged from the growth achieved in 2014. Capacity rose 3.1%, edging up load factor 0.1 percentage points to 81.8%.
  • Middle East carriers had the strongest annual traffic growth at 10.5%. As a result, the share of international traffic carried by Middle East airlines reached 14.2%, surpassing their North American counterparts (13.4%). Capacity growth of 13.2% exceeded the demand gains, pushing down load factor 1.7 percentage points to 76.4%.
  • Latin American airlines’ traffic rose 9.3% in 2015. Capacity rose 9.2% and load factor inched up 0.1 percentage points to 80.1%. While key regional economies, particularly Brazil, have been struggling, overall traffic has been robust.
  • African airlines had the slowest annual demand growth, up 3.0%, although this was a significant improvement over the 0.9% annual growth achieved in 2014. With capacity up just half as much as traffic, load factor climbed 1 percentage point to 68.5%. International traffic rose strongly in the second half of 2015, in conjunction with a jump in trade activity to and from the region.

Domestic Passenger Markets

Domestic air travel rose 6.3% in 2015. All markets showed growth, led by India and China but there was wide variance. Capacity rose 5.2% and load factor was 81.5%, up 0.9 percentage points over 2014.
 
Dec 2015 vs. Dec 2014RPK GrowthASK GrowthPLF
Australia 3.2% 1.2% 77.9
Brazil -5.4% -4.0% 80.1
China P.R. 8.2% 8.2% 76.7
​India 25.0​% ​25.2% ​87.5
​Japan 1.2​% ​-2.9% ​64.7
Russian Federation ​​-3.4% -8.0% ​70.0
US 4.9% 4.1​​% ​84.1
Domestic 5.1% 4.2% 79.9
  • Brazil’s domestic air travel rose just 0.8% in 2015, reflecting the country’s deteriorating economic situation. Traffic trended downward throughout the year.
  • US domestic traffic climbed 4.9% last year, helped by solid economic growth. This was the fastest rate of increase since 2004 and the first time since 2003 that domestic traffic growth surpassed international growth. The load factor reached a domestic record high of 85.4%.
The Bottom Line: “Aviation delivered strong results for the global economy in 2015, enabling connectivity and helping to drive economic development. The value of aviation is well understood by friends and families whom aviation brings together, by business travelers meeting clients in distant cities, and particularly by those for whom aviation is a lifeline in times of crisis.
 
“It is very disappointing to see that some governments still wrongly believe that the value of taxes and charges that can be extracted from air transport outweighs the benefits—economic and social—of connectivity. The most recent example is the dramatic increase in the Italian Council Tax levied on air passengers. This 33-38% hike will damage Italian economic competitiveness, reduce passenger numbers by over 755,000 and GDP by EUR 146 million per year. An estimated 2,300 jobs a year will be lost. At a time when the global economy is showing signs of weakening, governments should be looking for ways to stimulate spending, not discourage it.”
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APRIL Partners With Tin Leg To Fulfill Travel Insurance Company’s ‘24-Hour Emergency Assistance’ Services

APRIL Travel Protection is partnering with Tin Leg and will function as the travel insurance company's medical assistance provider, fulfilling 24-hour Emergency Assistance needs, including evacuation services.

Backed by the 27-year-old APRIL Group, APRIL Travel Protection has become an innovative force in the U.S. since its 2013 launch and is now partnering with Tin Leg, a market leader whose customer service-oriented approach to travel insurance parallels APRIL’s own policyholder-centric philosophy. APRIL will function as Tin Leg’s medical assistance provider, fulfilling 24-hour Emergency Assistance needs, including evacuation services.

“Immediate and hassle-free 24-hour Emergency Assistance is an extremely crucial component of any travel insurance policy, and we found APRIL’s best-in-class medical support to provide the ultimate solution,” said Megan Singh, Project Management Director at Tin Leg.

As of Dec. 1, Tin Leg began referring all applicable Emergency Assistance medical cases to a dedicated, multi-lingual support team at APRIL for immediate assistance.

“As two forward-thinking companies challenging the status quo in an industry where many of the larger players have lost consumer confidence, Tin Leg and APRIL make a complementary and compatible match,” said Jason Schreier, CEO of APRIL USA.

“Tin Leg is extremely receptive to American travelers’ perception of insurance and, like us, is actively working to build a nurturing relationship with policyholders. We’re eager to contribute to the success of a company that shares our vision,” Schreier added.

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Italian Aviation Tax To Cost 2,300 Jobs a Year

A sudden increase in the Italian Council Tax levied on air passengers which will damage Italian economic competitiveness, and result in 2,300 jobs a year being lost. That is, according to IATA.

Effective immediately in January, without any advance warning or consultation, Italian authorities announced a 33-38% increase in its Council Tax, amounting to an extra EUR 2.50 for every passenger. Passengers will be paying EUR 10 in tax each time they fly from airports near Rome, and EUR 9.00 for flights from other Italian airports. None of the revenue raised from the tax is re-invested in aviation, instead it is diverted for general purposes.

“This sudden jump in the cost of flying from Italy can only cause harm to the Italian people and its economy. The increase in the Council Tax will reduce passenger numbers by over 755,000 and GDP by EUR 146 million per year. 2,300 jobs a year will be lost, meaning that by the end of the decade over 9,000 jobs will have been needlessly squandered. Rather than increase this inefficient and ineffective tax, the Italian government should urgently enact policies to encourage the growth of air transport links, which are proven to enhance employment, innovation and cultural activities. The Government should start with a full-scale review of the economic basis of the tax, with a view to its complete removal. Airlines and passengers should not become an easy source of income for any Government,” said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Europe.

Experience elsewhere in Europe, such as in the Netherlands and Ireland, show removal of taxation boosts traffic and benefits the economy of the country. Italy has a number of other taxation and regulation issues which IATA is calling on the Government to reform, to enhance competitiveness.
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